July 6, 2017
NORTON, Kan. – Live Well Norton, in collaboration with the Norton Regional Health Foundation, has secured funding to complete a trail that will run east to west along the north side of Armory Drive in Norton. The trail will stretch a half mile from Highway 283 by the National Guard Armory to West Street.
The project will cost a total of $128,815; however, a majority of those costs will be covered by the City of Norton, supplying equipment, supervision and some materials, and the Norton Correctional Facility, providing the labor. The remaining costs, primarily for concrete, total $25,000. Live Well Norton and the Norton Regional Health Foundation secured that funding with the help of the Dane G. Hansen Foundation providing a grant of $15,000, the Norton County Community Foundation providing a grant of $5,000, and the Norton Trails Fund coordinated by Kristine Posson and Tonya Stover contributing the remaining $5,000.
Emily Jacobs, president of the Live Well Norton committee, said trail construction should begin soon, based on scheduling of the City of Norton and Norton Correctional Facility crews. Also, this project will be timely, as recent community strategic planning in Norton County identified that walking and biking trails are wanted and needed in the area.
“Our committee’s motto is ‘Health is wealth for our economy and quality of life,’” Jacobs said. “Physical activity is an important part of our overall health. We knew we needed to help make physical activity easier and more accessible in our community. This new trail is in a prime location to help make it safer for children to walk to school, and it will allow for a better connection between the north part of town and downtown Norton. Many people already use Armory Drive for walking, jogging and biking. With the new trail, it will be much safer for everyone.”
Jacobs added that this project is a “jumping off point,” as she hopes its success will help trigger thoughts of other areas to improve trails and sidewalks in the Norton community. In addition to the trail itself along Armory Drive, plans are in place to create adequate crosswalks so crossing Armory Drive is also safer for pedestrians and cyclists.
“While this trail will make it safer for people, it will also hopefully help overall community health,” Jacobs said. “The current generation of children and teenagers are the first generation projected to not outlive their parents and grandparents in life expectancy. This means that our kids and grandkids likely won’t enjoy as long of life as we will, and they may also spend more time battling chronic disease that could come from physical inactivity. Not only are we coordinating the building of this trail, we will be marketing it to our community with hopes our citizens will use it often.”
Live Well Norton collaborates with the newly created Norton Regional Health Foundation, in that all grant dollars are housed within the 501(c)(3) foundation for specific wellness projects. The foundation’s board works with the Live Well Norton committee to fulfill a variety of health and health care projects in Norton and the surrounding region. While the board primarily focuses on the health care needs of Norton County Hospital, Norton Medical Clinic and Logan Clinic, by working with Live Well Norton the board is focusing on community health needs as well.
“Supporting both health and health care is important,” said Katie Allen, executive director of the Norton Regional Health Foundation. “While we need a vibrant health care system to take care of our patients when they need us, we also need to take our knowledge and services beyond our facility’s walls to encourage healthy living in our communities. We are proud to partner on this worthwhile trail project, and as we continue to grow as a foundation, we look forward to supporting many other projects to benefit our hospital, clinics and communities.”
Another major advantage of the Armory Drive trail, Allen said, is the potential to attract people to Norton. Having more access to outdoor physical activity may bring in people from other towns, make new families want to move to Norton and keep retirees in Norton. The trail has the potential to help the local economy flourish, just by increasing safety and accessibility for outdoor activities. The trail will be 5 foot in width; therefore, it will be compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act regulations as well.
Live Well Norton and the Norton Regional Health Foundation would like to extend its sincere appreciation for those who contributed grant funding to make this project come to fruition, as well as the City of Norton, Norton Correctional Facility and JP Metzler, civil engineer, for their help in this process. Other community supporters, as well as Eisenhower Elementary, have made a tremendous impact on this project. In fact, the trail will also extend to the front of Eisenhower Elementary to complete the concrete path in front of the school. Lastly, many thanks is also extended to the Norton City-County Airport Board for granting the land to be able to build the trail.
More information about the progress of the Armory Drive trail will be posted on Live Well Norton’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/livewellnorton. The Live Well Norton committee includes: Emily Jacobs, Kellen Jacobs, Gina Frack, Caryl Hale, Leslie Pfannenstiel, Rita Speer, Bill Johnson, Keli Habiger and Karen Griffiths.